The disunity of color

Philosophical Review 108 (1):47-84 (1999)

Abstract

What is color? What is color vision? Most philosophers answer by reference to humans: to human color qualia, or to the environmental properties or "quality spaces" perceived by humans. It is argued, with reference to empirical findings concerning comparative color vision and the evolution of color vision, that all such attempts are mistaken. An adequate definition of color vision must eschew reference to its outputs in the human cognition and refer only to inputs: color vision consists in the use of wavelength discrimination in the construction of visual representations. A color quality is one that is generated from such processing.

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Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto, Mississauga

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